This is the first time we’ve ever entered Portugal via the Algarve, the most popular sun holiday area in the country. It’s busy and it’s full of billboards promoting holiday experiences. There are huge shopping centres and factory outlets and it’s a bit more expensive than the north. (Which incidentally seems to be the opposite in Spain.) Now, having said that we spent our first night in Castro Marim in the free motorhome parking with a visit to the Castelo for €1.20 and an inspiring nata and coffee for two, just €4 – the opposite of expensive.
Early Tuesday morning we set off for Tavira, a very pretty town on the coast that benefits greatly from sea breezes – the temperatures have risen to 28℃ and I’m wilting a little. We are staying here for a few nights, it’s got everything we need including a supermarket nearby and the town just a 30 minute walk. The main difference between Spain and Portugal is practically everyone here speaks English which is great – except for my Spanish practice. But I have found a workaround. The Portuguese speak Spanish (and French too!) So I have been continuing to practice, although I usually take pity on them trying to understand me and go back to English.
When we got here the temperatures had just started to rise and the entrance was packed with motorhomes arriving and leaving and I was craving space and quiet. I picked the farthest parking spot from everyone else I could find. Within the hour I realised why we were alone. The train line is so close that the glasses rattle whenever it passes. I’m making it sound worse than it is, it’s a short train and very quiet and it runs only during the day and not very often but it speeds by and the glasses do rattle. We got used to it. The only disturbing thing is seeing the locals who use the tracks to take a shortcut home from the shops. Another disaster movie to add to the list – my mind loves to frighten me. I have been trying to take a picture of the train passing but it kinda sneaks up on me and then it’s gone faster than I can pick up my phone and click the camera. (I did get one)
A bit like this journey, already Spain has speeded past. We are having so many new experiences and seeing new places we think we will never forget but even newness becomes familiar. If I wasn’t writing it down I would forget so much. Before we went away I bought some books – physical books, I mean. I always have a way to read digital books but I wanted something to hold in my hand this time. It’s not easy to get books in English while on the road. Anyways, two different friends had recommended The Magic by Rhonda Byrne (she wrote the secret.) It’s a book to help you start a gratitude practice. Every morning you write down ten things you are grateful for and every evening you remember one thing you are most grateful for during that day. Each day you read a chapter where she goes into a bit more detail about things you might not have thought about being grateful for.
I used to think of gratitude as a command, something you should do or else you’re a bad person! But gratitude is more a recommendation than a command. As in… it is recommended if you want to feel better every day notice the things you’re grateful for. Directing our attention towards all we have instead of what we’re missing.
And today the thing I am most grateful for is you ❤️ You reading is very much connected to me writing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.